Just as Madison County, Iowa is known for its covered bridges, and Orange County, Florida for world-famous Disney World, Door County, Wisconsin proudly celebrates the richness of its arts and crafts. Artists, aspiring artists, and art lovers find much to appreciate in this Wisconsin artistic haven on a peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan.
Three theater companies present live productions. Peninsula Players Theatre is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater. Located between the villages of Egg Harbor and Fish Creek, well known plays are presented “under the stars” in an all-weather pavilion from June to October. Door Shakespeare presents Shakespearean and other classic plays in a garden setting in Baileys Harbor during the summer season and moves into the Ephraim Village Hall for fall. The American Folklore Theatre, located in Peninsula State Park, presents outdoor summer plays and also moves indoors in the fall. Productions are original musical comedies that typically have a local slant; for example, “Bing, The Cherry Musical” and “Guys & Does” were presented during the 2011 season.
Studios and Galleries
Fine art endeavors in the studios and galleries around Door County embrace many media themes including painting, woodworking, sculpture, pottery, glass blowing, and jewelry making. Several local artists work out of their own studios and galleries where visitors are able to purchase one-of-a-kind works of art as well meet the artists. Particularly impressive is Sturgeon Bay’s Popelka Trenchard Gallery and Glass Studio where a husband and wife team create Murrini vases and fine art cast glass. Lessons in glass blowing are offered by the artists.
Several large galleries, including Blue Dolphin House and Fine Line Designs Gallery & Sculpture Garden (www.finelinedesignsgallery.com), in the village of Ephraim, carry works in many different media forms from a wide range of artists. Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor and Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Fish Creek also represent many artists and are housed in restored barns.
A Hands-On Art Experience for Visitors
For the artist or aspiring artist interested in learning or mastering an art form, Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek provides quality art education for students of all ages. Instructors are professional artists and seasoned educators. The school offers year-round one- to five-day workshops in painting, sculpture, jewelry and metal arts, photography, and more. Classes are offered for all ability levels, from beginning to experienced. The school also offers a young artist program each summer. A variety of workshops are available.
Artists-at-heart from age 3 and up who wish to create their own art project will want to visit the Hands On Art Studio in Fish Creek. Art experiences include ceramics, glassware, wood, mosaics, metal sculpture, fused glass, and jewelry making. The studio provides all materials required to complete each project and assistants are on hand to provide initial instruction and help when needed.
Door County’s calendar is chock-full of special events and festivals. Larger festivals include the Wine and Cheese Gala held in mid-March and the Sturgeon Bay Fine Art Fair at the end of May. The Fry Bal Festival in June re-creates traditions of Norwegians celebrating midsummer. Peninsula School of Art sponsors a mid-July, week-long Plein Air Festival where invited artists from around the country arrive to paint the county’s outstanding scenery. Midsummer’s Music Festival, with exceptional chamber music featuring world class musicians, takes place throughout Door County from mid-June to mid-July. Cherry Fest is the first week in August; Door County Festival of the Arts is in mid-August; the list goes on and on.